Pietro Barba – Crafting Stories Through Editing
Pietro Barba is an Italian experienced editor with a deep understanding of pacing, rhythm and storytelling. His background in the industry, and experience as writer-director has allowed him to hone his skills and deliver emotionally compelling content that captivates the intended audience. His goal is always to create high-quality, memorable work that leaves a lasting impression.
HI, WELCOME TO ABOUT INSIDER THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS PIETRO BARBA IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
Pietro Barba is a young Italian editor, writer, and director who has found solace in filmmaking, using it as a platform to confront reality, reinterpret it, play with it, and explore his thoughts, emotions, desires, and the world around him, protected from external judgment. For him, cinema is a tool for growth, motivation, and rejuvenation, an art with extraordinary properties that can make anything happen and show us realities that inspire us to reach our full potential.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT INTO VIDEO EDITING AND CINEMATOGRAPHY?
Since I was young, I had a propensity for writing and as I grew up, I was introduced to the world of cinema where I learned that stories, once just on paper, could now come to life. From that moment on, cinema became my passion and I took every opportunity to create short films with my group of friends. After high school, I was hired at a multimedia company as a an editor and cameramen. Additionally, I worked on filming and editing local TV series and several music videos for Italian artists. In 2018, I decided to expand my experience and moved to Los Angeles to immerse myself in the Hollywood cinematic reality. Here in LA, I have gained invaluable experiences in the world of cinema. Starting as a beginner on the set of various short and feature films, I soon became an editor for award-winning short films, commercials, and eventually TV series and feature films. Currently, I am working in partnership with a multimedia company and a production house here in LA, while also editing, writing and directing my own projects.
HOW HAS LIVING IN LA FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS INFLUENCED YOUR WORK AND APPROACH TO EDITING?
As an experienced video editor hailing from Italy, where my primary focus was on commercials and music videos, I have honed my eye and attention to detail when it comes to crafting videos that pulsate with rhythm and pace. In my time here in Los Angeles I have had countless opportunities to work on projects centered around storytelling, and I have immensely improved my skills in editing dialogue, building suspense, and elevating a director’s artistic vision into a unique and tailored final cinematic experience. Working with a multitude of directors from all corners of the globe has helped me build a versatile and eclectic visual repertoire, sparking new ideas and styles that have propelled me to craft stories in a unique and captivating way. Furthermore, these past four years in Los Angeles have introduced me to new and innovative technologies and programs that upgrade the video editing process, making it easier to bring compelling stories to life.
CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH A PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING PROJECT YOU’VE WORKED ON AND HOW YOU OVERCAME ANY OBSTACLES DURING THE EDITING PROCESS?
As an editor, I have had the privilege of working on a multitude of projects, each offering its own unique set of challenges. However, one project that truly pushed my skills to the limit was a basketball documentary I edited in 2021. The task of organizing, reviewing, and selecting footage was a marathon effort that required my full attention and dedication. The basketball tournament took place over the course of seven days in China, and I was tasked with not only capturing the excitement of the games but also showcasing the hard work and dedication of the players and coaches in their training sessions. The challenge of transforming this collection of footage into a compelling and cohesive narrative was daunting, but my background in music videos and commercials, proved to be a valuable asset for this project. With this experience, I was able to infuse the documentary with creative elements that not only kept the audience engaged, but also elevated the overall quality of the film. My training in storytelling techniques was also critical in bringing the raw footage to life. These skills allowed me to take the disparate pieces of footage and weave them into a compelling story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. The result was a 1.5-hour documentary that captivated the audience and showcased the beauty of the game of basketball.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH COLLABORATING WITH A DIVERSE TEAM AND ENSURING THAT EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE IN TERMS OF THE PROJECT’S VISION?
As an editor, I understand the importance of collaboration, particularly with the director and other key figures in post-production. After completing a rough cut, it’s crucial for me to have regular meetings with the director to ensure the film aligns with their artistic vision. Working closely together, discussing various scenes, and finding creative compromises between our joined styles is a thrilling aspect of the editing process, and my favorite. When two styles converge to create a single emotional masterpiece, it’s truly a magical moment. This same process extends to colorists, sound designers, VFX artists etc… as an editor, I must bring everything together and hold it all in cohesion. It’s essential to understand each person’s needs and help them complete their process in the most efficient and secure manner. I like to consider myself the glue that binds everyone together and I embrace my role as the conductor of the post-production symphony.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SPECIFIC INSTANCE WHERE YOU HAD TO WORK WITH A TIGHT DEADLINE AND HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO DELIVER HIGH-QUALITY WORK UNDER PRESSURE?
One of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on was a feature film titled “Unnamed.” As both the gaffer and the editor, I was tasked with turning the raw footage from 17 days of shooting into a polished rough cut within one month. However, with a meticulous routine and drawing upon all my prior experiences, I was able to deliver the film within the prescribed timeframe without sacrificing quality or continuity. My priority as an editor is always to highlight the actors’ performances, and with my background in direction, I had the knowledge to choose the strongest takes and strike a balance between acting and continuity. Despite the tight deadline and the pressure to deliver a high-quality rough-cut, I remained focused and I was able to create a seamless and engaging rough-cut that met all expectations.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON REMOTE WORK AND HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO ADAPT TO IT WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE?
I have always been captivated by the concept of remote work in the editing field, and I was fortunate enough to discover Frame.io, a game-changing program, at the Los Angeles 2022 expo. This program has the ability to create proxies instantaneously, and I had the opportunity to test it out as an on-set editor for a short film project. The results were astonishing as it significantly streamlined the editing process. Frame.io operates by generating a proxy in the cloud as soon as the “record” button on the camera is pressed, which is then instantly accessible by the editor. This process is also available for audio files, making it a comprehensive solution for all post-production needs. My future aspiration is to continue exploring this cutting-edge technology and to assemble a team of on-set editors. By doing so, I aim to form a post-production team during production, which will help eliminate errors that can arise from not being able to see an edit in real-time. Additionally, it would save costs associated with potential reshoots and simplify the creative process, ultimately allowing for a more efficient and effective workflow.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A PROJECT YOU DIRECTED, WROTE AND EDITED AND THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES THAT PRESENTED?
As a filmmaker, my latest short film “The Role-Play of Life” was one of my most ambitious projects to date. This dialogue-driven, psychological drama delves into absurd tales, following the journey of an infertile babysitter and a court judge who find solace in sharing their strange life stories within a rusty playground.
Casting for this film was a complex process, as I was searching for a Little person who was passionate about the project. To my delight, several well-known actors in the Hollywood industry showed interest, and getting to know them and learning about their unique experiences was truly invaluable. It helped me to fine-tune and enhance the story I was telling. The film was shot in just five days, three of which were spent at a playground, while the other two were dedicated to filming all the flashback and vision scenes, including a bathroom, a mountain field, a living room and a grocery store. The various challenges we faced while filming outside for four days honed my problem-solving skills and tested every valuable member of my team.
After five days of hard work, we finally brought the film to completion and embarked on another grueling process: editing a film that I had both written and directed. I created over a hundred timelines for each possible version of the film, incorporating feedback and different perspectives. From an original runtime of 30 minutes, I managed to create a final cut of 17.30 by reworking the film through the editing process, enhancing and streamlining it for a more impactful viewing experience. The film is currently in the process of being scored and will soon embark on its festival run.